1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
2 1/2 T. canola oil
2 pounds asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
6 C. chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1/2 C. dried morel or porcini mushrooms (about 1/2 ounce)
2 C. hot water
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large saucepan, combine the onion, garlic and 2 T. of the oil and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and cook until the asparagus are very tender, about 30 minutes. Â Preheat the oven to 350Â°. In a bowl, soak the morels in the hot water until softened, about 20 minutes. Swirl to dislodge any grit; drain and chop.
In a pie plate, toss the morels, shallots, remaining 1/2 T. of oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the shallots are softened and lightly browned. Â Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Return the soup to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into soup plates, garnish with the mushroom mixture and serve.